OpenAI, Microsoft, Other AI Giants Under FTC Antitrust Probe
Five of the AI industry's most influential companies are under investigation by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to head off anti-competitive practices.
OpenAI, Microsoft, Anthropic, Amazon and Google parent company Alphabet have been asked by the FTC to "provide information regarding recent investments and partnerships," the agency said in a press release Thursday. Specifically, the investigation is focused on the following deals:
Each of the companies involved in these partnerships has been asked to provide documents, under section 6(b) of the FTC Act, to help the FTC assess their potential for stifling competition in the generative AI market. A 6(b) inquiry lets the FTC order companies to provide information about their business practices without a criminal investigation.
Examples of information that the FTC is requesting include studies on each deal's impact on the participants' market shares and the overall AI market, product roadmaps, plans around hiring and staff allocation, any information given to outside governments related to the deal, exclusivity agreements between the participants of the deal, and more.
The 6(b) inquiry, dated Jan. 24, gives the companies 45 days to file the required information with the FTC. A copy of the request can be viewed here.
The inquiry is an early step by the U.S. government to forestall a monopoly or any other antitrust issues in the generative AI market.
"History shows that new technologies can create new markets and healthy competition," said FTC Chair Lina M. Khan in a prepared statement. "As companies race to develop and monetize AI, we must guard against tactics that foreclose this opportunity."